Group Visits to STOPS and the New Palace Theatre Organ Heritage Centre

For an Afternoon of Delight - Memories are Made of This

Providing the ideal destination for your Club, Company or Society outing, we tailor the entertainment to suit you.   Performing on the organ from the Playhouse Edinburgh, our Resident Organist, Larry McGuire, himself the last resident organist of the Playhouse until 1985, plays music and relives memories of days gone by, which are not actually that far in the past.  Larry himself was associated with the Playhouse organ from its first performances following its restoration in 1970 until 1985, when the organ was permanently taken out of use.

Our most frequent visits are from clubs for our older citizens, for whom we put together an afternoon or evening of mainly musical entertainment, but complete with refreshments, for you to enjoy.  We can provide catering from a basic 'tea and biscuits', through to a high tea which your Auntie would be jealous of!

We have a special programme at Easter, and encourage the members of your group to wear an 'Easter Bonnet' to show off, and maybe even win a prize for.

Christmas however, is when the whole building sparkles with festive wonder.  The outside of the building is adorned with twinkling lights and the whole of the interior is transformed into a 'Winter Wonderland', complete with a 12 foot high Christmas Tree, for your delight.  A typical Christmas visit might include a welcoming hot, spicy fruit punch and Christmas Mince Pie followed perhaps by warming, hot soup and home made breadrolls, with seasonal cakes and petit fours served with tea or coffee during the Interval in the Entertainment.

We are fully equipped to show silent (and sound) films, so can incorporate showing a short silent film complete with live organ accompaniment into your visit for an additional charge, and are also happy to give a more detailed technical lecture on the inner workings of the instrument for those more interested in what goes on behind the scenes.

We were the first venue in the country to project a close-up of the organist's hands and feet onto the installed big screen during every performance, something that has been copied by many around the world, which helps to give audiences and visitors an impression of 'just how much is going on' to make the music they are enjoying, and the organist often gives a musical 'tour' of the organ which entrances everyone, especially when he demonstrates playing, from the organ console, the Glockenspiel and Xylophone which are displayed at the side of the stage.

We are proud to have presented Lectures in the Centre to students from Edinburgh University's Department of Musical Instrument Acoustics, and a similar presentation can be made when a much more detailed talk can be given on the history, development and tonal resources of the theatre pipe organ, as compared to the church organ, and can tailor this talk to suit either younger students, including school children of all ages, or members of a Rotary or Probus Club, or 'University of the Third Age' Group.

During better weather, we encourage visitors to make use of the external seating areas at the rear of the Centre, where a small band of volunteers are carrying out a long term project to create a wonderful and fully accessible garden for all to enjoy.  With a collection of various fruit trees, we even make our own Apple Jelly for sale in the Centre.

With loads of interesting things to see, from historic light fittings removed from demolished cinemas, to a selection of 'silver service' from the long gone Playhouse and Palace Cafes, as well as projectors and a collection of memorabilia, your group's visit is sure to be packed full of interesting surprises.

Except for the small balcony, all of the Centre is wheelchair accessible and we have an accessible toilet.   Induction loops for the hard of hearing are installed in the Auditorium, the Green Room Coffee Bar and at the Servery Counter.   We do not yet have signage printed in Braille but intend adding this in the future, although when we have visiting 'Blind Clubs' there are always plenty of carers on hand to assist, both coming with the Groups and from our own volunteers.

Staffed entirely by volunteers, we aim to provide a service second to none in the Centre, and welcome suggestions for improving what we already do.   We have a 'Visitor's Book' which we encourage everyone to sign and you are welcome to read through it.

For group visits, we request a minimum donation of 5.00 per person to cover the entertainment costs, with catering options costing -
  1. Tea/coffee and selection of biscuits - 2.00 per person

  2. Hot soup with home made breadroll - 2.25 per person

  3. Tea/coffee with scones, butter and jam, and petit fours - 3.50 per person

  4. Tea/coffee with selection of sandwiches, scones and petit fours - 5.00 per person.

A small additional cost is made for special dietary requirements, which will depend upon the number and type of requirements, and we are happy to offer any variations you may require from our standard options.

Please contact us for further details on the number or email address below.

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Help us Preserve the History, Traditions and Craftsmanship of Yesterday for the Generations of Tomorrow, and
Your Help, the Future is Bright

STOPS - Taking the Theatre Pipe Organ into the 21st Century

STOPS gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund

and the Scottish Borders Council's Community Support Fund

The acronym of 'STOPS' as applying to a theatre or cinema organ society is the Copyright of the Scottish Theatre Organ Preservation Society
©1972, ©1977, ©1990, ©1995, ©2000, ©2014.

STOPS, New Palace Theatre Organ Heritage Centre, Todholes, Greenlaw, Berwickshire, TD10 6XD, Scotland
01361 810759 |

Registered in Scotland as a Charity. Reg. No. SC-018217

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